Can Mizo National Front make a hat-trick ?

December 6th, 2008 - 12:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Aizawl, Dec 6 (IANS) Counting of votes polled to pick members for the 40-seat Mizoram assembly will be held Monday with the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) confident of storming to power for the third straight term.”We are very sure of getting absolute majority,” Chief Minister Zoramthanga, who is also leader of the MNF, told IANS.

Elections to the legislature were held Tuesday with an estimated 80 percent of the total 611,124 voters exercising their franchise. The MNF is banking on the theme of stability and good governance, besides peace, to make it to power for the third time in a row.

“All these years we provided a stable and clean government and Mizoram is among the few northeastern states where there is absolute peace with no signs of any insurgency,” the chief minister said.

The stocky Zoramthanga was a former separatist guerrilla leader and was the second-in-command of the MNF that surrendered en masse in 1986 after waging a 20-year bush war against the Indian government. The MNF later became a political party after the historic Mizo Accord in 1986.

Despite Zoramthanga’s optimism, the fight for political supremacy this time is expected to be a triangular one with the other two main players being the main opposition Congress and the newly formed United Democratic Alliance (UDA), a conglomeration of various regional parties.

“This election we know for sure that people have voted for change as they are fed up of the 10-year-long misrule of the MNF government,” said Lalthanhawla, former chief minister and Congress leader.

“A Congress government is almost sure this time,” he said.

The UDA led by octogenarian former chief minister Brigadier (retd) T. Sailo is also expected to put up a spirited show.

But political analysts feel Mizoram would get a fractured mandate this time with the MNF bound to face a strong anti-incumbency wave after having ruled the state for the last two terms.

Counting of votes begins 8 a.m. Monday and would decide the fate of 206 candidates, including nine women and 33 independents.

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